One of the classic prayers of Orthodox Christianity is called the Jesus Prayer. Practiced for centuries it comprises one sentence: Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner. It is recommended that this prayer be uttered throughout the day, to give perspective to everything else. For some it has become a primary practice. The anonymous Russian Christian writer of The Way of a Pilgrim explains how after using the prayer a long time it becomes the source of ceaseless self-activating prayer of and in the heart.
Now I walk and say the Jesus Prayer without creasing and it is more precious to me than anything else in the world. When the cool air chills me, I begin saying the Prayer with greater intensity and I warm up. When Hunger begins to overcome me I begin saying the name of Jesus Christ more frequently and I forget I wanted to eat....when someone offends me I remember how sweet the Jesus Prayer is and I forget everything, walk in a semi-conscious state without worries, interests or temptations.
I am far away from such prayer experiences but I told the congregation how I was adding it to the little prayer on the bathroom mirror: Mighty God you've done great things for me. Holy is your name. Your mercy extends to me. Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner. I know it's early days but it's a good way to begin each day.
For the sake of completeness I need to add that my sermon finished by affirming that within the same four churches where there were pumped up disciples, Carol and I can testify to some of the very best times of our lives. Because to know genuine togetherness in Christ's love is indescribably wonderful. I think especially of baptismal services and the experience of rejoicing like nothing else on earth. Of fellowship with others, of service engaged in work together. When I talk about the happiest people in the world I can honestly say that these times have entered deep places of joy which could only be accounted for by God at work with humble-minded people.